Wednesday, February 4, 2015

DISCERNMENT or DECEPTION (pt 8)

Discernment or deception—the choice is yours.
Most everyone reading this will say, “Well, that’s a no-brainer,” as they assure themselves of their discernment skills.

If it were true that we have such excellent discriminatory abilities, then why are we warned so many times to “not be deceived?”


How many will slip right on past that first statement without realizing that deception is a choice?
Some would argue that’s not true, because the very nature of deception is to trick one into believing something they would not consciously choose. That may be partly true; but consider this verse from Jeremiah 5:31—
The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?
I will address this verse more fully later, but notice that the “people love to have it so.” They have no problem with the prophets and priests leading them by means of their own human skill without the Spirit of the Lord.
And Jeremiah poses a question at the end of this: “What are you going to do when it all hits the fan?”
What most American Christians have failed to realize is that it IS going to hit the fan, and they will be at the effect of that mess.
Recall what Achan did during the battle of Jericho. He took some garments, silver and gold and hid it, though they had been told to spare nothing and take nothing.
(Joshua 6:17-19; 7:21)
Achan did it.
All by himself.
And all Israel got in trouble for it.
Joshua 22:20—
Did not Achan the son of Zerah commit a trespass in the accursed thing, and wrath fell on all the congregation of Israel? and that man perished not alone in his iniquity.
So, how is it that the people of God today think that because they “don’t smoke, cuss, drink, chew or run with them that do” that they will somehow escape what is coming?
We have been deceived into thinking that God’s judgment is reserved ONLY for those outside the covenant of grace, not realizing “that judgment must begin at the house of God.” (1 Peter 4:17)
The point here, however, is not about your particular individual sin or lack thereof. It is about being around those who may be destined for judgment due to their life choices.
Do you really want to be in the line of fire?
I think not; but without clear discernment of what is happening around you, that may well be the outcome.
Lot was not aware of what was happening to him due to his choice to live in Sodom. If it had not been for Abraham standing in the gap for him, he would have been destroyed along with the rest of the city, even though he had not sinned as the others.
Peter tells us that Lot “vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds.” (2 Peter 2:8)
This does not mean that he cried out to God for them.
It means that he was being tortured.
Willingly.
He was torturing himself by not removing himself from his situation.
Yet, he was destined for destruction due to his association—not directly—but as “collateral damage.”
If discernment is not exercised by the people of God, they will soon become collateral damage due to the deception that is taking place within the Body of Christ among the people of God.
If we are to overcome deception through our exercise of discernment, then it is necessary that we be made aware of deception and what it looks like.
Many, however, will say, “No. All we need is discernment. We don’t need to know about deception.” They will often refer to the story of how the FBI learns to detect counterfeit money by only studying the real thing. (I do not know the veracity of the story, but it makes a good point in some ways.)
Paul tells us that we are “not ignorant of (Satan’s) devices.” (2 Cor. 2:11) Can I just take that as a blanket statement of truth and apply it to myself without anything from my experience to back it up? Not successfully. Therefore, it is essential that we make ourselves aware of Satan’s devices so as to not be ignorant of them.
Also, the phrase “be not deceived” is used five times in the KJV, and each is coupled with a specific statement concerning some thing or event.
In other words, “don’t be deceived about this,” don’t be deceived about that,” and “don’t be deceived about the other thing.” Each one is different.
To be more clear, the phrase “don’t be deceived” is never used by itself as a general command or warning. So, there are specific things about which we are to pay attention.
The word “deceived” and its associated forms appears 150 times in the KJV. (I’ve not taken the time, nor made the effort to find out how many different words—if any—are translated by this group, for that would send us far afield of our purpose here.)
Some of those are used within a context of telling a story of deceit, but the vast majority give us warning and insight into the nature and subtlety of deception.
Therefore, I conclude that knowing about deception is important from a biblical perspective.
So, in the next three units we will cover
  • The Process of Deception
  • The People of Deception
  • The Protection From Deception

as outlined in the Bible.

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